Feldzeugmeister was a military rank in various European armies (mostly German-speaking, but also in Russia for a period), especially, in the artillery. It was commonly used in the 16th or 17th century, but could even be found in the beginning of the 20th century in some European countries. In the army of Habsburg Empire, the rank of Feldzeugmeister was an equivalent of Lieutenant General.
Origin of the word
The word is German, and translates to 'Field-train-master'. Field means the battlefield, as used in the title Field Marshal, and train refers to the baggage train or artillery train that accompanies an army. The expression has been used since Philip VI of France, before guns or cannons were used on the battlefield.
Originally, the ranks above Feldzeugmeister were Feldhauptmann and Feldmarschall. The third most important person in the army was the Feldzeugmeister. Although the expression was common in the German artillery, Austrian, Hungarian and French militias used the title as well. The position of a Feldzeugmeister differed by German states.
In 1898 the Ministry of War of the Kingdom of Prussia created the position of a Feldzeugmeister which was comparable to the commander of a division. The Feldzeugmeister was in charge of delivering weapons, ammunition and personnel.
In Bavaria of 1906 the inspection of weapons was organised by the department of the Feldzeugmeister.
In the Austrian and Hungarian service, Feldzeugmeister (in Hungarian Táborszernagy) had a different meaning. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Feldzeugmeister held the rank just above Feldmarschallleutnant and just below Feldmarschall (Field Marshal). It was a roughly equivalent rank to full general. Feldzeugmeister was equal to the General of the Infantry (General der Infanterie) and the General of the Cavalry (General der Kavallerie). It remained the second highest rank of the Austrian army until the creation of Colonel-General (Generaloberst) in 1915. Originally members of the infantry and artillery were given this rank, while members of the cavalry would become Generals of the Cavalry. From 1908 onwards the rank Feldzeugmeister was given to members of the artillery only.
- Master-General of the Ordnance
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